Without the right mindset, environment or method, remote working can be isolating and exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t let yourself lose the fight; gear up, get focused and follow these five simple steps to help avoid those brain-dead habits.
1. Be independent
Whether you’re mowing down a herd of zombies, Will Smith style, or working an 8-hour day alone, you have to trust yourself. If you can’t rely on yourself to get the job done, you face the risk of falling behind on work and letting your team down. Or, you know, getting eaten by zombies.
Here are a few ways find faith in your abilities:
- Ignore the undead – enjoy your own company. As cliché as it sounds, you need to know yourself well to work alone comfortably. If you don’t, there’s no way you can improve your own methods. Ask yourself these questions: What motivates you? What environment do you work best in? What tools do you need to improve your productivity? Does music hinder your work? Is working in the same room as your friends or family distracting?
- Set workable, zombie-free hours. You know when you work best. When remote working, you may have flexible hours – or you at least get back the time office workers spend on their commute. So find your sweet spot and make the conscious decision to work when you know you’ll be most productive.
- Cease fire and take time out. The great thing about not working in an office is getting away from noisy distractions. The problem, however, is that those same distractions often spur us to get up and take a break every so often. Remote workers have to take breaks on their own terms. When working from home, it’s easy to let the time pass by without stopping. This doesn’t help your health or your productivity – so make sure you get up and take a time out.
2. You’re not alone
Shaun knew the importance of friends and family in Shaun of the Dead. When things get too hectic, it’s okay to ask for help. If you’re facing a difficult problem or you’re feeling lonely, reach out to your colleagues. Don’t face your zombies alone.
In today’s digital age there are many platforms you can use to contact colleagues. Fortunately, you’re not stuck in a technology-lacking apocalypse. Your communication methods aren’t as basic as rusting walkie-talkies, so there’s really no excuse for going it alone:
- Instant messaging. Apps such as Slack and Facebook at Work allow remote businesses to recreate an office rapport. You can even create different groups to separate the work talk from the water-cooler chat.
- Video calling. Software such as Skype and RingCentral are modern day miracles. It can be hard to decipher tone and mood in written communication but video calls allow for a more natural way of talking to colleagues.
- Shared work applications. It’s important to be transparent with your team and clients. Websites like Basecamp are brilliant for sharing projects and letting your colleagues know what you’re working on.
3. Be nomadic
It’s unlikely that you’ll be sharing your home with zombies, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t become riddled with distracting nuisances.
Luckily, remote working doesn’t have to mean working from home. Some people like to separate their workspace from their living space. If working from home isn’t your preference: move. Don’t force yourself to work in a space that isn’t right for you. It’s as simple as that.
As a remote employee, you can work almost anywhere. Providing there’s a WiFi connection (and it’s not infested with the undead), you’re good to go. Just remember to:
- Lookout for new base camps. Try working outside, in a public space or in a dedicated temporary work space; there are many options available. If you’re lost for ideas, search on Workfrom for workspaces near you. What’s more, you can share your own favourite spots online for other remote workers to find.
- Team up with an ally. Remote working doesn’t mean that you have to work alone. If you and your colleagues live within a reasonable distance, arrange to meet up for a couple of hours. You might not get the opportunity to fight some zombies, but it’d be a nice way to bounce ideas off one another and socialise.
4. Have a suitable setup
It’s impossible to survive a zombie apocalypse without a decent setup. The same goes for you and your business. While zombies are a less likely threat, you do face many other security risks. Don’t let yourself become a victim; protect your data and devices by using the following tips:
- Get antivirus. You don’t want your devices to get infected. Download antivirus software onto all your devices (mobile phone and Macs included) and ensure that you scan for viruses regularly. There are plenty of free programs available, such as Windows Defender and Avast Antivirus.
- Update software. Just like your apocalyptic weapons, keep your browsers, plug-ins and software up to date too. These updates can patch any security breaches that come with out-of-date software.
- Strengthen your passwords. It’s important to use strong passwords. To make it harder for hackers to access your data, update them on a regular basis and use different passwords for different accounts.
5. Dress appropriately
In World War Z, Gerry Lane cleverly avoided zombie bites by duct-taping magazines to his arm. Be as smart as Gerry and dress appropriately for your job.
It can be tempting to stay in your pyjamas when you’re a remote worker, but it’s hard to be productive when you’re not wearing the right clothes. In fact, studies show that dressing in informal clothes can kill your productivity. On the other hand, wearing work-appropriate clothing can increase your attentiveness and help you focus.
Remote workers are happy workers
The likelihood of a zombie apocalypse is pretty slim but remote working is a craze that’s on the rise. If you follow these tips and adjust your working habits to suit your environment, you’ll be able to work remotely, happily and prepared. And who knows, if a zombie apocalypse ever does arrive, maybe you’ll be ready to face that, too.